Dr Mel Nowicki

Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography

School of Social Sciences

Mel Nowicki

Role

I am a Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography. Prior to joining Oxford Brookes in January 2018, I was a Teaching Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Researcher at LSE Cities. 

My research interests broadly focus on urban housing inequality and class stigmatisation. In 2017 I completed my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. My thesis focused on the impact of two UK housing policies implemented by the 2010-15 Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, the bedroom tax and the criminalisation of squatting. 

Teaching and supervision

Courses

Modules taught

  • GEOG4001. Introduction to Human Geography
  • GEOG5001. Cities: Geographies of the Urban Experience
  • GEOG6004. Future Cities
  • GEOG6012. Geography Dissertation

Research

My doctoral thesis explored the impact of UK Coalition and Conservative government housing policies on inner London’s low-income residents, focusing specifically on the bedroom tax (a social housing reform introduced in 2013) and the criminalisation of squatting (introduced in 2012) as case studies. 

My current research project explores the role of pop-up and modular housing techniques in the provision of social housing for formerly homeless families in London and Dublin. I have been awarded funding by Dublin City Council, Royal Holloway (2016-18) and Oxford Brookes (2018-20) to explore resident experiences of life in these new housing developments, and assess whether they can provide a meaningful contribution to reducing ever-growing crises of housing affordability and availability in both cities. 

I am currently Co-Investigator on a ESRC-AHRC UK Japan Connections Grant, working with housing researchers in the UK and Japan to understand challenges faced by both countries regarding housing provision for vulnerable people. 

I am also developing new research projects on the rise of 'micro-living' in the European and North American context, and the relationship between hotels and housing markets. 

Research group membership

I am currently the Treasurer for the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (Royal Geographical Society)

Research grants and awards

  • 2020-2022. Tiny Homes, Big Promises: Exploring the Emerging Geographies of Tiny House Developments in Austin, Texas. British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Grant (£9,860). Principal Investigator.
  • 2018-2020. Enhancing housing affordability and social care in Japan and the UK: Comparative evaluation of policy and practice. ESRC-AHRC UK-Japan SSH Connections Grant (£50,000). Co-Investigator.
  • 2018-20. Research Excellence & Impact Award (£5,000), Oxford Brookes University. Principal Investigator.
  • 2017-2018: Home at Last? Life in Dublin's Rapid Build HousingDublin City Council (€12,000). Co-investigators: Mel Nowicki, Professor Katherine Brickell, Ella Harris (RHUL)
  • 2016-2017: Research Strategy Grant, Royal HollowayPrecarious Lives, Pop-up Solutions? Resident insights from PLACE/Ladywell, London. (£3,500). Co-investigators: Mel Nowicki, Professor Katherine Brickell and Ella Harris (RHUL).

Research impact

I engage regularly with the media. I have written for The Guardian, and been interviewed on Irish national radio and Inside Housing's ''The Housing Podcast''. My research has also been reported on in the Irish Times. 

Centres and institutes

Groups

Projects

Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • Navigating Debt-trap Urbanism in Pandemic Times: Family Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation in Greater Manchester (01/05/2022 - 30/04/2023), funded by: Urban Studies Foundation, funding amount received by Brookes: £990
  • Shrinking Domesticities: towards a global research agenda on urban micro-living (11/01/2021 - 31/07/2023), funded by: Urban Studies Foundation, funding amount received by Brookes: £20,700
  • Tiny Homes, Big Promises: Exploring the Emerging Geographies of Tiny House Developments in Austin, Texas (31/08/2020 - 31/12/2023), funded by: British Academy, funding amount received by Brookes: £9,837
  • Enhancing housing affordability and social care in Japan and UK, led by TDE (03/12/2018 - 02/05/2020), funded by: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £2,080

Publications

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